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Thread: Posing Problems in the Westminster Confession of Faith

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    Hello moderator

    I don't mind if Roy makes some posts. I'm interested to see what he has to say.

    JM

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    Moderated By: Bill the Cat

    From this point on, Roy has permission to post in this thread.

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    Further problems with the theory of double imputation.

    1) The theory requires that faith is an instrument by which Christís righteousness is imputed to the sinner. Those who advocate faith as an instrumental cause do so by citing passages such as the following Ė

    According to RC Sproul Ė

    ďOf course, Protestantism really teaches a double imputation. Our sin is imputed to Jesus and his righteousness is imputed to us. In this twofold transaction, we see that God does not compromise his integrity in providing salvation for his people. Rather, he punishes sin fully after it has been imputed to Jesus. This is why he is able to be both Ďjust and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesusí as Paul writes in Romans 3:26. So my sin goes to Jesus and his righteousness comes to me.Ē
    Romans 3:26 says he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus. Yet there is nothing here that demonstrates faith is the instrumental cause of justification. The reformers simply do not have any text that says faith is an instrumental cause of justification. Every text they use is merely an exercise in eisegesis of the text to project their own theory into the passages presented.

    According to the Westminster Confession Ė

    II. Faith, thus receiving and resting on Christ and His righteousness, is the alone instrument of justification:[4] yet is it not alone in the person justified, but is ever accompanied with all other saving graces, and is no dead faith, but works by love.[5]

    JOH 1:12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
    The power God gave to men of faith is not the imputed righteousness of the reformers, but the power of divine sonship. Divine sonship is a Catholic doctrine, whereby sonship is an effect of God infusing grace into the soul. The grace given makes men just as sons of God. John 1:12 only shows justification is Catholic and not Reformed. Further, there is no evidence in John 1:12 that faith is an instrumental cause.

    ROM 3:28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.

    ROM 5:1 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
    The preposition by in the above two passages does not provide any evidence for faith as an instrumental cause. The preposition by can be understood as faith as a virtue within man acting to cause men to believe what God has told men. The virtue of faith acts along with grace within the soul to cause justification. Rom 3:28 and 5:1 are better understood within the Catholic teaching of faith as a theological virtue that acts with hope and love and sanctifying grace to procure justification.

    Faith is not stated to be an instrument in the biblical text, as required by the double imputation theory. As the Reformation theory has no examples from the bible showing faith is an instrument, the theory relies upon an understanding of faith that is unbiblical.

    2) The theory requires that faith is an instrumental cause of the elect being justified. The elect are those predestined to get to heaven by God granting faith to men, who would otherwise not believe. When those who have faith also have righteousness imputed to them, they are seen by God as just and righteous. Yet in heaven, men do not have faith, nor are they sinners. So for the double imputation theory to hold, the theory must account for how the elect are sinners with imputed righteousness in this life, but in the next life are saints who perfectly keep the law in heaven, without faith and hence without imputed righteousness.

    The double imputation theory then requires that faith causes righteousness without men actually being righteous. Then men without faith in heaven do have infused righteousness as the cause of lawful action, without imputed righteousness which had previously been attained in this life by faith alone. As such, the elect must go through a process of justification and sanctification in this life, where sanctification grows, making men intrinsically righteous. And justification diminishes, making men less and less extrinsically righteous until justification is no longer required in the next life where there is no faith. The theory then requires the sole cause of justification in this life, is no longer a cause of justification in the next.

    The theory then requires that God who can and actually does make men intrinsically righteous, does not do so in justification in this life, but does so in sanctification in this life. God then does not act consistently with His means of justification in this life, with men in the next life, and continue to impute Christís righteousness by faith alone, but must grant Christís righteousness to men by another manner. The manner of imputing righteousness to men in the next life, done without faith means God can also justify men in this life without faith, yet He chooses not to do so. The convoluted and arbitrary nature of Godís dealing with men implies the double imputation theory is false, by making Godís means of causing justification arbitrary.

    Alternatively, the theory requires that those in heaven still have an imputed righteousness in heaven. Yet so, the imputed righteousness is procured without the instrumental cause of faith, as the sole means of justification. If so, the double imputation theory is inconsistent in its claims concerning the sole cause of faith as an instrument of imputed righteousness. Hence the theory is false.

    3) The double imputation theory posits that faith alone is required to impute Christís righteousness to a mans account. Hence the Reformers say there is no need for purgatory where men are purged from sin and are justly given the punishments for sin. Yet in heaven the elect are no longer sinners and perfectly keep the law, or they donít. If they donít then they live with the Father, who has the power to make the elect keep the law, but does not grant them the power to do so. If so, the Father is deficient and is not the true Father God of the bible. If they do keep the law, then sinners in this life must be transformed into saints to stop sinning and keep the law. Hence there must be an intermediate stage between sinners who die and saints who live in heaven. Yet such an intermediate state is denied by the double imputation theory. Hence the theory is inconsistent with its affirmation and denial of an intermediate state between this life and heaven. Therefore the double imputation is false.

    4) The double imputation theory requires the Holy Spirit (HS) causes faith and santification within men. So when the HS acts within men to cause faith, the Father imputes Christ's righteousness apart from any santifying cause of the HS acting within men. As the Father declares men righteous, even though the HS has made men righteous, the Father's declaration is 1) merely nominal and then false, and 2) made contrary to the intent of the DI theory which says men are declared righteous but remain sinners. Hence the DI theory requires a false understanding of the work of the Holy Spirit and righteousness within men. Hence the theory is false.

    5) The double imputation theory requires the Holy Spirit causes the process of sanctification within men. Yet when the Holy Spirit causes faith within men, that faith is credited as an extrinsic, alien righteousness apart from any sanctification caused by the Holy Spirit. Such a crediting of extrinsic righteousness apart from the sanctifying cause of the Holy Spirit implies the crediting of righteousness is indifferent to the work of the Holy Spirit, who is God, yet disposed towards the work of Christ who is God. So to credit righteousness, God must ignore the sanctifying work of God as the Holy Spirit, but must be arbitrarily disposed to acknowledging the work of Jesus on the cross. Such arbitrary judgement by God in the act of crediting righteousness means God must ignore the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit, even though Jesus died, and ascended into heaven to send the Holy Spirit. The Spirits work in men is then caused by Jesus, but ignored by God when God acts to justify. God must then both acknowledge Jesus work on the cross but ignore Jesus work in sending the Holy Spirit as the cause of sanctity in men.

    Of course, because the Holy Spirit is God, justification is a declaration by the Holy Spirit, who causes sanctity, but must ignore His own work within men and only focus on the past act of Jesus on the cross. This judgment by the Holy Spirit is eclectic and against the nature of God who always judges in accord with the real. The arbitrary nature of the legal declaration, which both acknowledges and ignores the work of Jesus and the Holy Spirit in different respects indicates that the double imputation theory is false.

    6) The double imputation theory requires that God credit righteousness when righteousness is not inherent within men. The crediting is meant to bring peace between an angry God and sinful men. Yet such peace is only a fiction, for men still remain sinners, whereby sin is a cause of turmoil. The peace achieved through legal imputation of Christís righteousness is a false solution that brings a false peace. As the real God does not act falsely, but is required to act falsely within the theory, then the god of the double imputation theory is a false god. Hence the double imputation theory is a false theory.

    7a) The double imputation (DI) theory teaches men are justified by faith alone. When men have faith, they are justified. When men do not have faith, they are not justified. So if a man has faith, then loses faith, he moves from justification to condemnation. The DI theory teaches that Jesus suffered for all the sins of the elect, except sins against faith. For if faith is lost and not regained then those who permanently lose faith go to hell. Yet if faith is lost and regained, then Christ did die for sins against faith committed by the elect, when faith is regained. So according to the DI theory, Christ did not die for sins against faith, for those predestined to hell, but did die for sins against faith, for those predestined to heaven. Therefore the sins against faith are both redeemed by Jesus for some and not for others. The cross then becomes the arbitrary tool of Godís will, who chooses to redeem some sins of the elect and not the same sins of the non-elect. The arbitrary nature of redemption within the DI theory makes the theory false.

    7b) Alternatively, the DI theory says faith can never be lost. So if one has faith, then seems to lose faith at a later time, the original act of faith made either in the past or present, must be accounted as no faith. So as we do not know the future, we do not know if a man will seem to lose faith in the future. Therefore we do not know if anyone really has faith in the present for the future may reveal a present, apparent believer is really only a pretend believer. Therefore, as we do not know who has faith in the present, then all assurance of justification is lost, by the lack of knowledge of any future apparent sins against faith. The inherent instability regarding the nature of faith within the DI theory shows the theory promotes a false assurance of justification. Hence the theory is false.

    8) The double imputation (DI) theory says God predestines all things, which includes God acting to predestine men to have faith and others not to have faith. God predestines some to demonstrate His mercy and others to demonstrate His justice. God could predestine all men to believe but choses not to do so. Therefore because God has chosen not to grant all men justifying faith, God has preferred that some men be damned rather than saved. As the work of faith is entirely from God and men cannot freely act to believe, Godís predestining will for the damned is an act of malice towards sinners, done for the sake of God demonstrating the perfection of justice towards some. But to demonstrate justice towards some by choosing not the act to save some, God does not demonstrate the perfection of mercy to those men. By God acting this way towards men, the DI theory requires God to act in the manner of a creature, where God creates out of a need to demonstrate some perfection to some creatures and not to others. The need to demonstrate perfections to creatures is a need that anthropomorphises God, and thereby reduces God down to a creature with needs. The DI theory requires God to be a creaturely, arbitrary despot who manipulates all outcomes for His own ego. As the DI theory concludes to an anthropomorphisation of God, the theory is false.

    9) The bible tells us that God is love. So God must always act with good will towards all men. Yet the DI theory says God only acts with good will towards some men and not others. Therefore the DI theory is a theory that ignores the consequence of Godís good will to all men, and reduces Godís love, to a love of free choice of some over others, rather than a love from the nature of God. The DI theory requires that God not act as love, making the theory false.

    10) The DI theory says God predestines some to demonstrate His mercy and others to demonstrate His justice. But there is no reason ever given for why God need demonstrate anything through justice to some and mercy to others. So the DI theory is merely based upon an interpretation of some bible verses, without any justification for why those verse actually mean what the DI advocates think those verses mean. Hence the DI theory is without any explanatory value concerning 1) who gets to heaven and who does not, and 2) why Jesus suffered on the cross arbitrarily for some and not others. Hence the DI theory is false.

    11) The DI theory concludes to God as having a profound schizophrenia towards sin. God is both 1) righteous and cannot tolerate sin in any man. And, 2) righteous, but does tolerate any sin whatsoever, other than sin against faith for the elect. The schizophrenia within God towards sin concludes that the DI theory is false.

    12) The DI theory concludes to God viewing men as two distinct races, making humanity both united as human, but diverse when seen through the lens of the DI theory. The DI theory assumes all men have the same nature, as human. But the theory also says God sees the elect and non-elect through the lens of faith and justification, which is only caused by God. So God sees all men as men, but all men as two groups of the elect and non-elect. The elect are loved by God and the non-elect are hated by God. So all men are equally human, but some are the object of His love and others the object of His hate. Therefore the DI theory concludes to God sees what He wants to see in men, because He chooses to see what He wants to see. He chooses to see two races of humanity in humanity, when there is really only one humanity. Consequently, the god of the DI theory is the author of reality and therefore objective, but deals with reality in a subjective manner. The convoluted manner of Godís dealing with man as both the objects of love and hate, for no intrinsic reason within man is capricious. Therefore the DI theory is false. Itís as though the DI god has a fetish, and by golly someoneís gonna cop a hiding for that fetish, no matter how unnecessary that fetish is.

    13) The DI theory requires a novel understanding of faith, the cross, Jesus suffering, law, righteousness, justification, sanctification, authority, exegetical method, ignorance of the Church fathers and so on. The novel meanings granted to these words indicates that the theory is entirely novel and foreign to the Lord who governs history. Hence the theories novelties signify that the theory is contrived and therefore false.

    14) The DI theory is in part based upon the Luther narrative that tells us of Luther's trauma over his relationship to God. Apparently Luther suffered much over his sins and could not find relief concerning his troubled conscience. The Luther story says he found peace in his version of the gospel that says men are justified by faith alone (Rom 3:28). But for the story to have any currency, one must buy into the Luther problem as his own problem, and the Luther solution to the problem as the universal solution to the problem of sin. The problems with the Luther story are multiple.

    A) Not all men suffer from the scrupulous problems Luther encountered, so his problem does not apply universally. Therefore both the Luther problem the solution to Luther's problem are not the Lutheran gospel of faith alone.

    B) The Lutheran gospel assumes God sent Luther to teach humanity the true gospel apart from Church history. Such a claim is of course against the nature of God who owns church history and has taught the true gospel within the church from the time of the apostles. The Luther story is then contrary to the nature of divine revelation, and the divine power that governs history.

    C) The Luther story has no genuine claim to authority. The story is only that of a troubled man and does not conclude to a divine mandate to force men to agree with the story, when the men within the story has no authority. The Luther story assumes an authority it simply does not have.

    D) The Luther problem was not the problem of the Calvinists, nor the problem of other Protestants. So the Luther problem is not the occasion for the reformation version of the gospel, even according to the witness of the Reformers.

    E) Luther claimed to be a reformer, yet his many novel doctrines concludes that he reformed nothing. The truth is Luther was a rebellious revolutionary who made up his own version of Lutheran theology, made apart from revelation and the Church.

    F) Luther changed his mind many times during his career on many points of doctrine. Hence any claims that Luther was a reformer, must ignore his many doctrinal instabilities. If we are to maintain the notion that Luther was a reformer, logically because Luther changed his mind so often, Luther was also a reformer of his own version of Christianity.

    G) Luther's story contains circumstantial evidence for his own abusive childhood catching up with him as an adult. The abusive nature of his upbringing can be traced to his own abusive manner of dealing with others who dissented from him. Lutheran theology is then a product of an abused man, which concludes to Lutheran theology as having no applicability to the universal church.

    H) The Luther story is simply not a compelling narrative. The man promoted a version of Christianity that contains many doctrines equivalent to a fictional world of a novel. One such theory is the double imputation theory. To believe the narrative means one must believe the fictional version of Luther's fictional Trinity who capriciously acts to elect and damn for His own motives.

    JM
    Last edited by JohnMartin; 11-15-2016 at 12:31 AM.

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    41st Mojave Summer DesertBerean's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnMartin View Post
    Is this the best you've got, or should we expect something better in the future?

    JM
    It means I foresee a 100,000 word book coming in each of your posts.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DesertBerean View Post
    It means I foresee a 100,000 word book coming in each of your posts.
    You can always ask a question in the spirit of the thread to further our mutual understanding of the topic at hand.

    JM

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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnMartin View Post
    Would you be interested in defending the catechism you hold to? What are the official documents of North American Anglicanism? To Be a Christian: An Anglican Catechism seems like a place to start if you wish.

    I do not beleive the Westminster confession or catechism can be successfully defended.

    JM
    Given the intransigence displayed in your refusal to acknowledge your basic error regarding Anglicans and the Westminster Confession, I'm not exactly interested in debating the finer points of theology with you. Otherwise I might consider it as an academic exercise.
    Enter the Church and wash away your sins. For here there is a hospital and not a court of law. Do not be ashamed to enter the Church; be ashamed when you sin, but not when you repent. Ė St. John Chrysostom

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    Quote Originally Posted by One Bad Pig View Post
    Given the intransigence displayed in your refusal to acknowledge your basic error regarding Anglicans and the Westminster Confession, I'm not exactly interested in debating the finer points of theology with you. Otherwise I might consider it as an academic exercise.
    The Westminster confession represents the doctrine and church polity of 17th-century English and Scottish Presbyterianism.

    Now can we discuss anything pertinent on the topic at hand?

    JM

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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnMartin View Post
    I don't mind if Roy makes some posts. I'm interested to see what he has to say.
    I was pointing out that as usual your 'problems' stem from your own misunderstanding.

    For example:
    According to Wiki the Westminster confession is the standard confession of faith for the Anglican Church, ...
    The basis of your post is wrong.

    According to Wiki, the Westminster Confession was adopted by an act of parliament in 1648, amid the civil war, but that act was overturned in 1660 when Anglicism became the state church once more:

    "After vigorous debate, the Confession was then in part adopted as the Articles of Christian Religion in 1648, by act of the English parliament, omitting section 4 of chapter 20 (Of Christian Liberty), sections 4Ė6 of chapter 24 (Of Marriage and Divorce), and chapters 30 and 31 (Of Church Censures and Of Synods and Councils). The next year, the Scottish parliament ratified the Confession without amendment.

    In 1660, restoration of the British monarchy and Anglican episcopacy resulted in the nullification of these acts of the two parliaments."


    The Westminster confession hasn't been sanctioned in England for more than 300 years. Any 'problems' you identify can be dismissed as being no longer relevant.

    Also, a quick glance at your 'problems' shows that many are trivially resolvable:
    Problem Ė The NT states the gospel was delivered orally by the apostles. How then does the example of the apostles square with the Westminster confessions claim that the oral gospel has ceased?
    The Westminster Confession was written 1600 years after the apostles were preaching. That's plenty of time for the oral transmission of the gospel to cease.
    Problem Ė If oral traditions have ceased and are no longer binding, why doesnít the NT actually say such?
    Probably because oral traditions ceased after the NT was written. This is akin to complaining that Tacitus's annals don't mention World War II.
    Problem - if Christ's has priestly intercession in heaven what is the relationship to the work of the cross?
    That's not a problem, only a question.

    As with heliocentrism and relativity, the only problems are your ineptitude and lack of understanding.
    Mountain Man: A skin cell is a skin cell. It doesn't grow, it doesn't organize, it doesn't adapt, it doesn't self-sustain, it doesn't metabolize, it doesn't respond to stimuli.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Roy View Post
    I don't mind if Roy makes some posts. I'm interested to see what he has to say.
    I was pointing out that as usual your 'problems' stem from your own misunderstanding.

    For example:
    According to Wiki the Westminster confession is the standard confession of faith for the Anglican Church, ...
    The basis of your post is wrong.

    According to Wiki, the Westminster Confession was adopted by an act of parliament in 1648, amid the civil war, but that act was overturned in 1660 when Anglicism became the state church once more:

    "After vigorous debate, the Confession was then in part adopted as the Articles of Christian Religion in 1648, by act of the English parliament, omitting section 4 of chapter 20 (Of Christian Liberty), sections 4Ė6 of chapter 24 (Of Marriage and Divorce), and chapters 30 and 31 (Of Church Censures and Of Synods and Councils). The next year, the Scottish parliament ratified the Confession without amendment.

    In 1660, restoration of the British monarchy and Anglican episcopacy resulted in the nullification of these acts of the two parliaments."

    The Westminster confession hasn't been sanctioned in England for more than 300 years. Any 'problems' you identify can be dismissed as being no longer relevant.
    The problems are not so much about who believes the Westminster confession, but the content of the confession. The confession is believed by Presbyterians, rather than the Anglicans currently. Apparently there was a time when Anglicans did believe the confession.

    The Westminster Confession of Faith is a Reformed confession of faith. Drawn up by the 1646 Westminster Assembly as part of the Westminster Standards to be a confession of the Church of England, it became and remains the "subordinate standard" of doctrine in the Church of Scotland and has been influential within Presbyterian churches worldwide.
    Also, a quick glance at your 'problems' shows that many are trivially resolvable:

    Problem Ė The NT states the gospel was delivered orally by the apostles. How then does the example of the apostles square with the Westminster confessions claim that the oral gospel has ceased?

    The Westminster Confession was written 1600 years after the apostles were preaching. That's plenty of time for the oral transmission of the gospel to cease.
    And yet you have provided no evidence that the oral gospel has ceased. You only assume time has killed off the oral gospel. Nowhere in the NT did Jesus command any text to be written by any apostle. Jesus told the apostles to preach the gospel and that is what they did. Subsequently some of the apostles wrote down some of the gospel in the NT. The early Church practice and subsequent church life shows the church never depended only upon the NT for the full gospel. Historical Christianity is dependent upon the NT, oral tradition and the teaching authority in the church.

    Problem Ė If oral traditions have ceased and are no longer binding, why doesnít the NT actually say such?

    Probably because oral traditions ceased after the NT was written. This is akin to complaining that Tacitus's annals don't mention World War II.
    Again, no evidence is presented. You have only assumed the problem has been resolved historically. The problem will not go away that easily. The early church and later church practice was based upon more than one source of revelation.

    Problem - if Christ's has priestly intercession in heaven what is the relationship to the work of the cross?

    That's not a problem, only a question.
    Protestants claim Christ's atoning work was finished on the cross. Yet Christ had to be raised from the dead and then intercede at the right hand of the Father. Post cross works of Christ mitigate against their claim. As usual, the Protestant theology is full of problems that don't go away when examined rationally.

    As with heliocentrism and relativity, the only problems are your ineptitude and lack of understanding.
    As usual, you make claims without much evidence. You have not demonstrated that the problems within the Westminster confession stem from my ineptitude or lack of understanding. In fact the only thing you have demonstrated is your ability to make another vacuous claim on this thread. The above problems remain unresolved as do all the probems and questions presented on this thread.

    Observation - As we see above, I have noticed during my time at Tweb, that atheists and Protestants team up with each other from time to time. I wonger why that is so? Could it be that Protestantism is really agnostic, and the Protestants see a kindred spirit in the atheist unbeleiver, who is only a few logical steps away from them? Or does the atheist see the shambles of Protestantism and see a kindred, closet unbeliever in the Protestant?

    Something to think about.

    Note an example of Protestant agnosticism - there are several positions taken by Protestants on baptism. Hence the Protestant understanding of baptism is so mixed up that nobody can clearly state the true meaning and application of baptism. This is a clear example of agnosticism within Protestantism.

    I also know from personal experience that when I ask a Protestant about whether the content of the doctrine in the bible can be known, the usual response is we cannot know what the doctrinal content of the bible is. Hence Protestantism leads to an agnostic understanding of divine revelation.

    JM
    Last edited by JohnMartin; 11-15-2016 at 11:02 PM.

  10. #30
    Must...have...caffeine One Bad Pig's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnMartin View Post
    I also know from personal experience that when I ask a Protestant about whether the content of the doctrine in the bible can be known, the usual response is we cannot know what the doctrinal content of the bible is. Hence Protestantism leads to an agnostic understanding of divine revelation.

    JM
    As a former Protestant, I'm going to call bull on this.
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